Small charity leaders’ 2020 priorities revealed as Weston Charity Awards open for applications

Melanie May | 2 December 2019 | News

Small charity leaders are expecting to help more people, build business relationships and address diversity issues in 2020, with building partnerships with the commercial sector identified as the most pressing skills requirement, according to the latest Small Charity Leaders Insight Report. 
Published by Pilotlight and the Garfield Weston Foundation today to mark launch of Weston Charity Awards 2020, the report questioned 271 sector leaders.
It shows that 77% of the small charity leaders questioned expect to help more people in 2020 with 41% expecting their income to rise (overall 85% say they expect their income to remain stable or rise), slightly up from 2018’s figures.
Over a third (37%) of smaller charities have restructured this year, and two thirds (69%) say they are currently seeking professional pro bono support, while building partnerships with the commercial sector was identified as the most pressing skills requirement by 51% of charity leaders. This was slightly above fundraising skills, which was the second most pressing skills requirement at 47%.
Small and medium charities are also actively engaged in addressing diversity deficits among trustees, staff, volunteers and donors according to the findings. Nearly half (48%) of charity leaders are working on improving diversity and inclusion among trustees, with another 28% saying they needed to do so.
The Garfield Weston Foundation established the Weston Charity Awards in collaboration with Pilotlight in 2014. They celebrate and support great frontline charities working in the fields of community, welfare and youth and charities with incomes under £5 million in the North of England, the Midlands and in Wales can apply.
Applications close on 10 January 2020. In 2020, each of the twenty winning charities will benefit from a year of leadership coaching from a team of carefully-matched business leaders through the Pilotlight Programme along with £6,500 in unrestricted funding.
Philippa Charles, Director of Garfield Weston Foundation said:

“The resilience of small charity leaders is remarkable and should be celebrated. Smaller charities tell us they struggle to find the time and money to invest in long-term strategy but they also fear the risks of failing to do so. That is why we are providing a package of leadership support and funding for ambitious charity leaders through these Awards to help them to help more people long into the future.

Gillian Murray, Chief Executive of Pilotlight, a charity that matches the Weston Charity Awards winners with business mentors for a year of strategic planning support, said:

“It’s incredibly tough for small charity leaders to find the time to plan for long-term improvements whilst dealing with day-to-day frontline challenges but there’s lots of evidence that doing so can transform a charity’s fortunes.”


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